Producer/director J.J. Abrams has gone back to the future of the Star Trek franchise with a fresh new take on the classic sci-fi adventure. Using the familiar elements that Trekkies have come to expect the transporter room, the sights and sounds of the bridge, futuristic battle sequences this Star Trek film adds a twist with its fully realized characters that hook audiences into an emotional storyline.
Co-editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey followed Abrams’s lead in creating a film that paid homage to the original franchise while offering an inventive take on the material, which introduces audiences to the young, formative lives of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, including Captain Kirk, Spock, and Scotty. “We wanted to create characters with the same kind of arcs that you would in any good movie,” says Markey. “The only way action movies [are really effective] is when the action plays out through characters you are invested in.”
In particular, the editors focused on making the characters appealing to audiences. “At first we thought the Kirk character was too aggressive for people [to like],” explains Brandon. “We wanted to show him in a light where people would understand him and could forgive him. In the movie, people will see that he’d had some bad luck; his Dad was killed and he’d never gotten over it. By going to the academy when he was young, he could put his crazy, aggressive energy to work.”
To heighten the storyline’s dramatic impact, Brandon and Markey, who’ve both worked with Abrams before on Alias and Mission: Impossible III, frequently found themselves simplifying scenes. For example, they compressed some of the more elaborate time-travel sequences. “The whole storyline with [the villain] Nero in prison [for 25 years] was unnecessarily complicated. The sequence originally showed Nero in prison waiting for Spock to emerge from a black hole. But we didn’t need to show all those years,” says Markey. “J.J. showed up one day with a scheme on how to lose those scenes, and it worked so well. It’s a great example of how editing really is the final rewrite.” read more...